There comes a time in everyman’s life when what he needs is a change, much more than anything else in his life. “Knowingly or unknowingly” something happened to him and that’s not the end of it. Uday Kiran, who was considered the Lover Boy of AP till a few years ago, found his going tough. “This made some people think that I am done. I have never been lazy or out of screen all these years. Of course, luck didn’t favor me and luck will not be against me always. Every dog has its day and so has every man,” he says. He doesn’t consider using words like “Ex-Lover Boy” to mark him. “You wait and see. Lakhs and lakhs of families in our state are eagerly waiting for one hit movie for me. Surely, that will be my second invasion,” Uday Kiran asserts in an exclusive interview to Idlebrain.com. He also wishes good luck to the flood of new comers into Tollywood. His latest Gunde Jhallumandi is releasing tomorrow (Sep 12).
How about working for Gunde Jhallumandi? Looking back at your recent past, how special is this film to you?
Fantastic Experience: It is a fantastic experience. Luck didn’t favor me for the last few years. There are some people who might think I am gradually fading out. But, I know I wield the genuine fandom in Andhra Pradesh. I never hurt anyone. And nobody will feel like harming me. Countless families ardently wish that Gunde Jhallumandi should become a hit. They don’t feel that I am a film hero. They think I am one among their family members. In five out of ten families, you find a boy like Uday Kiran. I am neither too fair, nor too well-built, nor too stylish, nor too handsome… but an alert youth with genuine hopes and no avarice. All these factors give me special hope.
Big discussion: I am telling you for the first time. Even before conceiving the project Gunde Jhallumandi, Madan is a good well-wisher of mine. He belongs to my circle with a very few people. One day, he felt like doing a film with me to suit my taste and also to suit his taste. We discussed for the right subject for several months. We spoke hours and hours together, we laughed, we cut jokes and what not. Finally, the script was ready. In fact, it is the result of live emotions felt in real situations. It is not a mere love story. Gunde Jhallumandi is the reflection of live romantic feelings.
Madan, a hard struggler: We know, Madan generated much heat in the industry with his cool hits like Aa Naluguru (as writer) and Pellaina Kothalo (as director). Working with Madan is a rare opportunity. He is not rigid in his work style. He works not like a director in its conventional meaning. He works like a friend to give success to his friend. His friendliness is equally distributed to all on the sets. Such a genuine relationship I cherished with him. Like me, Madan was also a silent struggler. He worked for my blockbuster Manasantha Nuvve as II Camera Assistant. This shows his hard work and relent pursuit to scale new heights with varied interests.
What are the strengths of Gunde Jhallumandi?
I play the role as Balaraju. I maintained some peculiar features for this characterization. In fact, I learnt the art of toning my body from character to character based on the suggestions of my godfather Teja. I and Madan have a clear idea. To whom does GJ belong to? Why made this film? What the audiences exactly expect from us? See, I am not a mass hero, but at the same time I am not a class hero. This means my audiences are cosmopolitan. We just picked up the skeleton and adorned it with the best of the parts and it’s for the audience to start their treatment to our body. Foundation of GJ is extremely strong. Not to forgot, the audio is already a chartbuster. I tell you, it is going to long last for many years to come.
No doubt, you wielded strong fandom among our girls and the youth. All our heroes have organized fans associations. Why didn’t you have such associations?
Please note. It’s not “wielded”. It should be “still wielding”. Just I talk about my fans. But not for them, I would have been really finished. My big strength is my fans that range from LKG kids to senior citizens and golden citizens. The power of my fans is very powerful like “Chapa Kinda Neellu”. It is not seen just like that. It is intensely felt. You don’t find beating of dappulu (drums) and blasting of crackers and displaying cutouts. They don’t make any hungama. They just share their happiness in a cool manner. Perhaps, I am one and the only hero, better I say an actor, who holds unwavering fandom. In all my hard times, I was never neglected. I can proudly say, almost all the audiences in Andhra Pradesh wish that I should get a hit film. This blessing and hearty wish is enough for me. My life has its beautiful meaning, at this young age.
How exactly is the response from your fans and well-wishers all these years of your low profile?
I didn’t know what sin I had committed. Something had happened. That was all. I too made some wrong steps. It is all because I had no proper guidance. Now my sufferings turned into a pool of experience, priceless wealth to carry out my advancement. Wherever I go – restaurants, temples or factions – people come to me and with spotless smile. I find in their faces a cordial attachment for me. It seems to sound: ‘Yes. We are with you. You are our boy.’ They question me: ‘Why are you doing such films? Why don’t you do good films?’ They hold it as their right to question me. In turn I feel its my responsibility to answer them… to fulfill their wish. I hope I am going to answer my people with GJ. They made me realize that all these drums, garlands, cutouts and phone calls are not permanent. After all, neither success nor failure is everlasting. As long as we live, our heart beats. A heartthrob with love for our beloved ones alone is enduring.
Can you narrate your career during the period of low profile?
Sure. I am never away from the film industry. I did some flop movies. I still can’t understand why our people talk about the flops of a hero and not the flops of production houses. There are some big production houses which gave flops. When time comes, everything will be alright. To that matter, I never did any “Alla Tappa films”. All my films during this lean period – Lakshmi Putrudu, Viyyalavari Kayyalu and Abaddam – are done either with big people or with big respect for the subject.
Lakshmi Putrudu: The producer and director have repeatedly approached me with this subject. The story: Every young man attaining the age of 25 gets separated from his parents. He might leave them in pursuit of a job or after marriage. When such a situation comes, the hero decides to stay with his aging father. He even gets ready to forget his love for his dad. I liked this subject and I did it. I ran considerably well in Tamilnadu and it’s a flop in Andhra Pradesh. Now, you tell me is there anything wrong on my part having done this film?
Abaddam: Everyone in the film industry, all over the South knows how great is Balachander garu. He is guru to superstar Rajnikanth and Loka Nayakudu Kamal Hassan. When I got an opportunity to get directed by such a legendary person, I simply rushed to him. The movie is a flop, but as an artiste I am highly satisfied. Even in the years to come, the experience will be a milestone in my career. I did a film with Balachander garu. Doesn’t it sound great? Then why the perception that I did a flop movie?
Viyyalavari Kayyalu: See, Larsco Entertainments is not a small banner. Lagadapati Sridhar is not a small producer. Sattibabu is not a flop director. More than that Srihari is not an ordinary actor. With this combination, I ventured into VVK. Something might have gone wrong and it’s gone? So what’s wrong in doing this film? But, I will never blame the audiences. I bow my head to their patronage. This is just my clarification to those who are given to think that I did the so called “Alla Tappa films”.
Trend of introducing new comers began with your Chitram. Coming from that platform, how you find the heavy influx of new comers into Tollywood? Any classification from your side?
Actually, I don’t feel like answering this question. But, I can’t disappoint you. I am very proud to have done a film like Chitram with which dawned a new beginning in Tollywood. This way, Uday Kiran is like Columbus, who came to make a new discovery in Tollywood. We are having more films these days on human relations, current affairs, thrillers and the like. I am happy.
Pre-Chitram Days: I am not ashamed to tell you this. I must say this. I want all my new friends (new comers) to know this. Everybody knows the difference between non-filmy and filmy backgrounds. There is the third dimension. That is non-economical and economical class of entrants. Now, you don’t need filmy background, but economical background is a big yardstick. I came from a class where I didn’t even have money to take photographs of mine (bust, full and profile) for submitting it with Teja’s office (Selections for Chitram). Against the specified rules, I just submitted a single photograph that I picked up from our family album. I hailed from a class where I used to stand in long queues to obtain buss pass at the Ratifil Bus station. I made the footboard travelling almost all my college career… And because of these strengths, still I hold my stamina and continue to hold it for many years to come.
Present scenario: Our new comers are in fact lucky. 100 % of them come from a background where their parents support them. If required, the boys could even have excellent training in acting, stunts, dances with some of the premier film institutes in Mumbai or LA. The parents invest on their boys. They even make their best efforts to find a producer for their son. They also finance or aid the producer. They take every minute care – from poster designing to trailers to regular publicity. Ironically, sometimes they decide the producers and directors. Importantly, the risk factor is zero for our new comers. As they come from financially sound backgrounds, they always have alternatives, even if they don’t click as artistes. Anyways, I heartily welcome my new colleagues. They are must for our industry.
Poor and downtrodden: Unfortunately, you don’t find a new comer (in the main lead), who has come from a middle class or lower middle class or the downtrodden sections. We all of us know the zeal of the front-benchers in the theatres. They enjoy watching the movie more than the back-benchers sitting relaxed. This section, I mean the underprivileged, too possess the dream for the tinsel world, but they can’t afford to fulfill theirs. Something practical should be made to rope in artistes from this platform also.
Tell us the most pinching happening in your career?
So, you want me tell this also! (Laughs) Okay. When I was shooting for Gunde Jhallumandi, I was hurt in the knee. I was advised compulsory rest for two months. During this period, some of my colleagues on the sets of GJ came and spent time with me. My fans, better I say my friends, came to me. I forget all my sufferings and pain. But, none of our people with whom I had traveled for many years was not seen anywhere. I don’t know whether they knew about my bed rest or not. See, I am not blaming anyone. If a mosquito bites a big hero, it’s news. If a heroine catches cold, it’s news. But, God is with me.
How are you going to plan your future?
I have learnt a lot in my life, seen the best and worst. My dream for doing different kinds of characters is unending. Time will answer this.
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
PG Vinda (Cinematographer)
Hari Yelleti (Director)
Kishore Ganji (Producer)
Ram Mohan (Producer)
Salim Panda (Actor)
Surekha Vani (Actress)
Manjari Fadniz (Actress)
A Raja Sekhar (Director)
Sayaji Shinde (Actor)
Viswa Tej (Actor)
Geetha Madhuri (Playback Singer)
Sneha Ullal (Actress)
Prem Kumar Patra (Producer)
GV Prakash (Music director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Bharat (Child actor)
Malini Dasari (Cinematographer)
Rama Jogaiah Sastry (Lyricist)
Uday Kiran (Hero)
Aditi Sharma (Heroine)
Nagur Babu (Mano) (Singer)
Sekhar Suri (Director)
Sindhu Menon (Heroine)
Vinu Thomas (Music director)
Nihal (Music director & Singer)
Smita (Pop singer)
Sonal Chauhan (Actress)
Raghu Kunche (Singer)
Udaya Bhanu (Anchor)
Meher Ramesh (Director)
Rao Ramesh (Actor)
Gopi Mohan (Writer)
Ajay Sastri (Director)
Vara Mullapudi (Director)
Bhumika Chawla (Actress)
Jagapati Babu (Actor)
Vijay C Kumar (Cinematographer)
Sekhar Kammula (Director)
Ram Gopal Varma (Director)
Srinivasa Reddy (Director)
Mickey J Meyer (Music director)
R Narayana Murthy (Producer)
Baba Sehgal (Singer)
Buddhadev Dasgupta (Director)
Tom Alter (Actor)
Kundan Shah (Director)
Priyadarshini Ram (Director)
Selva Raghavan (Director)
Vijaya Bhaskar (Director)
R Ravinder (Art director)
Chandra Sekhar Yeleti (Director)
Mohana Krishna Indraganti (Director)
Dega Deva Kumar Reddy (Producer)
Nidhi Prasad (Director)
Hema Chandra (Singer)
Vijay C Chakravarthy (Cinematographer)
VN Aditya (Director)